On Thursday, January 17th, 2020 the Michigan Court of Appeals became just the latest court to reject Attorney General Dana Nessel's attempt to stop construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel.
In October of 2019, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled Enbridge Energy’s tunnel construction agreement with the state of Michigan was valid. The Court of Claims then denied the Attorney General’s request to stay (temporarily halt) the ruling, so she filed a brief in the Michigan Court of Appeals, a higher court, to stay the implementation of the Court of Claims decision. This too was denied. On Thursday, in a 2-1 decision from the Court of Appeals, judges Michael Gadola and Patrick Meter denied Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s request.
What does this mean for tunnel construction? The Attorney General’s spokeswomen, Kelly Rossman-MCkinney may have put it best, “If Enbridge applies for permits needed for the construction of the proposed tunnel, state agencies would have the responsibility to process the applications as provided by law; the potential unconstitutionality of Act 359 is not a basis at this time for declining to do so”.
It’s likely that the Attorney General will continue to challenge the courts in an attempt to delay or halt construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel, but for now, Public Act 359, the law that created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority and lead to the Authority's approval of the tunnel agreement, remains in place. Enbridge may continue to move forward with its plans for tunnel construction and the state must process any permits submitted pertaining to the tunnel project.